Sen. Gooch appointed chair of committee to study start of school year
State Sen. Steve Gooch (R–Dahlonega) has been appointed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to serve as chair of the Senate Study Committee on Evaluating the School Year Calendar of Georgia Public Schools.
“Senator Gooch’s leadership has helped guide North Georgia — and our entire state — to achieve record job growth and economic prosperity,” Cagle said. “I’m confident this study committee will diligently evaluate how local districts across our state can best align each system’s school calendar with their community’s unique needs, while ensuring that every student has access to a world-class education.”
Gooch noted by the Labor Day holiday, most schools have been back in session an entire month.
“Additionally, August is typically the hottest time of year when energy bills reach their peak and student athletes’ safety is a big concern,” he said. “I believe that for these reasons and others, it is a good time to take a look at how we compare to other states who still utilize a more traditional school calendar with their start dates after Labor Day.
“We look forward to hearing from all key stakeholders on how this shift would impact our public schools, students, parents and the tourism industry. Our goal is to determine if a later start date is feasible and if it would provide additional opportunities for families to take a vacation together while increasing the availability of summer workers for our booming travel and hospitality industries.”
Kelsey Moore, executive director of the Georgia Travel Association (GATA), said early school dates have an impact on the state’s tourism industry.
“GATA supports the establishment of sensible guidelines to create a more uniform school start date that benefits parents, students and the many locally-owned businesses that depend on the tourism industry to help drive Georgia’s economy,” he said. “These summer experiences, internships and job opportunities are critical components in the state’s efforts around workforce development.”
The study committee was created by the passage of Senate Resolution 1068 during the 2018 legislative session. The committee will review the effect of varied school start dates on the travel and hospitality industries, and must report its findings on or before Dec. 1.